Paderborn were denied a dream start to life in the Bundesliga as Koo Ja-cheol netted a last-gasp penalty to salvage a 2-2 for Mainz in East Westphalia.
Paderborn became the 53rd club to appear in the Bundesliga and, despite falling behind to a Shinji Okazaki goal, it looked like they were set to mark their arrival with a win when Elias Kachunga and Uwe Hunemeier turned the game on its head.
However, Koo's penalty in stoppage time allowed Mainz to avoid what would have been a third straight defeat, having already been eliminated from the Europa League and DFB-Pokal.
Paderborn showed no sign of nerves as they took to the Bundesliga stage, keen not to follow the examples of Greuther Furth and Eintracht Braunschweig in previous seasons.
They both went straight back down without putting up much of a fight, but it was clear from Paderborn's approach that they had learnt from their examples and are keen to give as good as they get this season.
That may mean they will be more susceptible at the back, and Okazaki illustrated that when he pounced to score from close range after Johannes Geis' free-kick was only parried, but it also means they will give themselves a fighting chance of staying up.
That was epitomised by Kachunga's decision to take a pot-shot at goal from 20 yards when only a slight gap opened up for him, and he succeeded in bringing Paderborn level before the interval.
Paderborn continued to attack after the break and they were rewarded when Hunemeier rose to head in Marvin Balalorz's deep cross to give them the lead three minutes from time.
Okazaki headed against the crossbar back at the other end as Mainz tried to level, but it seemed like Paderborn were going to hold out until Hunemeier went from hero to villain.
He was adjudged to have fouled Okazaki inside the area and Koo stepped up to ruin Paderborn's dreams and save Mainz from a making a complete false start to the season.